Actually, this isn’t just guitarists. It’s all musicians. We all believe in aliens; we all believe that there’s something else out there.
At least we want to believe. I’ll go ahead and admit that I personally believe that there’s life beyond what we know. That’s from both an alien and after-life perspective.
But this really isn’t about whether you believe in aliens or not. Of course, you do, right? I mean, seriously, how could you not?
But this is actually much deeper…
Hypothetically, the reason why you and I believe in aliens is that we long for more than what this life has to offer. The status quo isn’t good enough for people like you and me. And the reality that most people settle for is not even close to par for us.
Nope. There’s something more. Per the 90s TV series, The X-Files, ‘The Truth is Out There.’ But for us guitarists and musicians, the truth is actually somewhere else. It’s inside of us.
We have that thing that’s embedded in the depth of our soul that’s crying out for something more. We want to feel something that we haven’t felt before. We want to take life to that next level beyond what the average person experiences.
Who and Where are the Aliens?
As I’m writing this to you, I’m reclined on my patio listening to the crickets chirp, neighbors dog’s barking, feral cats meowing for food (yes, we’ve fed them but apparently we need to feed them again), and in awe of the full moon rising over me.
I started to focus more on the full moon. Have ever looked closely at the craters? Have you ever stared at them long enough that you start to see things moving? Creepy!
Was that real? Or just your eyes playing tricks on you? Was it just your imagination? Or was something (or someone) really moving around up there?
Who are the aliens? At times, I’m wonder if we musicians are the real aliens.
Where are the aliens? They’re far beyond. Or perhaps amongst us yet we cannot see them. Or perhaps we are them.
The Musician’s Gift and Curse
As guitarists and musicians, we’re never completely satisfied. And I’m not talking about your home life. For me, I’ve got an amazing and supportive wife so I’m overly satisfied with that.
I’m talking the satisfaction that we never fully experience that’s in that other and unexplainable realm. That’s where the aliens live. It’s also where our demons reside. And angels. And guitar riffs. And lyrics and compositions.
They all reside together in that unseen world.
Make no mistake. That world is real. Regardless of what you believe (or choose not to believe, because remember, belief and disbelief are a choice), those things that wake us up in the middle of the night to record a rhythm pattern, melody, or write down that one impactful lyric line; those are the reasons why we continue our pursuit.
Our gift is the greatest gift of all. We have a magical ability to play and write beautiful music that moves the deepest inner being. And that music has the potential to touch so many emotions, oftentimes simultaneously.
Our curse is that we’re constantly searching. Well, most of the time we’re searching for that guitar pick which we later find in the ‘tomb of the lost souls’ (the dryer).
But, yeah, we’re on a never-ending quest to find something that we don’t even know exactly what we’re looking for (I was trying really hard not to make a U2 pun).
Guitarists are the Real Aliens
Not of this world. Otherworldly. From outer space. And more than often spaced out!
When I was younger I made a very poor attempt at football. In truth, my dad wanted me to play sports. Don’t get me wrong, I had the best parents I could ask for. But sports were not my thing.
I remember one of the many practice times where I was standing in the middle of the field daydreaming about dragons, wizards, and Optimus Prime, and all of a sudden…SMACK!! I got clocked by this dude twice my size and I went flying through the air, landing on my ars.
I don’t think the dude meant any harm to me. He was just doing what football players do, I guess.
That experience didn’t last much longer, needless to say.
My point is that we’re often living on a completely different planet than the rest of society. Really, most of the time we’re not actually ‘there’ if you know what I mean. We’re somewhere else.
Perhaps we’re in ‘The Further’ like in the movie Insidious. Or maybe we’ve drifted off into ‘The Nothing,’ the antagonist of the Neverending Story.
We’re often not living as the popular character (despite that we may be on stage every weekend give or take). And we’re certainly not living in the land of normality or anything that resembles it.
We guitarists are the real aliens. And I guess Joe Satriani kind of put that out there with his album ‘Surfing with the Alien!’ Perhaps it’s a metaphor for surfing with himself and the rest of us musicians.
We’re Not of this World and Here’s Proof
Although we have our earthly lives, the ones we love, and our bandmates, there’s still that great void that can only be filled by one thing. And that happens every time we pick up that six (or seven or eight) string guitar.
We’re an ancient species that’s evolving into a new creation each day. That evolution simply comes from the notes that we play, songs we sing, and content that we put out there for the world to hear.
As strange (and as sad) as this sounds, I never really listened to Jimi Hendrix. When I got into music it was 80s pop followed by 80s rock and soon after, 80s metal. And once I discovered Metallica’s Master of Puppets, I didn’t want to hear anything that didn’t sound like that.
So this morning I randomly decided to listen to some Hendrix. As I was listening, I allowed myself to be taken back to that era. He was doing things that no one ever heard before or dared to attempt.
Now I get it. I understand why so many of my own guitar heroes like Satriani, Kirk Hammett, Slash, and many others gained so much inspiration from Hendrix. He was an icon, and it’s a shame that his time on earth was cut short. And from that, several others become iconic guitarists and musicians.
I then began to think about the evolution of our unearthly species. From Hendrix to Black Sabbath to ‘The Big 4’ to hair metal to modern metal and every sub-genre that was birthed thereafter.
We all tie back and in a sense belong to this grand mothership. We are from the same lineage.
I guess the ultimate question is will that mothership comes for us all someday? We will all be taken and reunited with the giants that we stand upon the shoulders of?
Probably so. But I think that might just be our heaven. Or a brief moment to receive our next musical assignment.
You may be in a blue band today. Tragedy strikes unexpectedly, your loved ones mourn, all the while you’re crossing over to the next assignment where you’re in a symphonic metal band. 70 years later you’re playing country. Then perhaps back to your blues (how confusing that must be!).
We believe in aliens simply because we are the aliens.
To the normal people, those of this world, this passage will make absolutely no sense. To you and me, it makes perfect sense. So maybe it’s best to keep this between us!
Keep it Metal,